Dandelyan — the celebrated London cocktail bar by Ryan Chetiyawardana (Mr Lyan — will close its doors at four years old. The bar held ‘World’s Best Cocktail Bar’ at the Spirited Awards in 2017, and is currently #1 in the World’s 50 Best Bars, ahead of the American Bar at The Savoy Hotel on the Strand. The Lyan team will retain the space at Mondrian London; Chetiyawardana has said: “please don’t ask what’s next.”
Dandelyan was part of Chetiyawardana’s Lyan pride of bars — and new Hoxton restaurant, Cub — that challenged the established norms of bartending: the large quantities of ice, citrus, and time that go into à la minute preparations. Fridges, distillates, concentrates and batch preparation produced a more restrained, no less striking iteration of that messy theatre. It now finds its kin in the aged, pre-mixed, and bottled cocktails that line the backbars of many of London’s most forward-thinking restaurants and drinking dens.
Chetiyawardana announced the news on Instagram:
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BIG OL’ ANNOUNCEMENT 1/3 Happy Birthday Dandelyan – AND GOODBYE! It feels fitting on our 4th birthday to kill off our now-eldest venue. The idea for Dandelyan is way older than 4 – it has its roots in White Lyan (itself an old idea I had waaaay back. The echos are apt!) and my old biology days. We were so glad it was relevant when it was around. But to me, what makes this bar great is these people (and there’s more of them). And fuck am I proud of what we’ve achieved together – World’s Best Menu (twice yo!), World’s Best Bar Team (duh) and WORLD’S BEST MO FUCKING BAR +++ – but that actually misses what I think we’re great at. It would be a disservice to these amazing people, and to what we have created together to continue when we think the landscape, and the conversation, has shifted. There’s so much I think we can do, and so much we want to challenge, discuss and create in this industry that, like with White Lyan, it makes sense to burn it down, start afresh, and rise again as something brighter, shinier and more fitting of where we’re (all) now at. Happy Birthday you big green beast, it’ll be great to see you different again. And goddamn I wasn’t joking when I said we have a lot on! I really think we’re just hitting our stride, and now it’s time to pull out the real weird stuff. Here’s to keeping it weird. Don’t ask what’s next (although we are keeping the space), please sit tight, and help us usher out the bar we know so many of you love as much as us. BIG LYAN LOVE! ✨
Business partner and fellow architect of the Lyan group — and by extension, London’s bar landscape — Iain Griffiths, followed suit:
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BIG OL’ ANNOUNCEMENT 1/3: Happy Birthday and SO LONG you beautiful son of a bitch!! • Dandelyan has been one of the most challenging & rewarding endeavours of my career. From opening, while still in the first year of White Lyan and learning to work within a corporate structure, to see this baby grow from an opening staff of 12 to now more than 30, and all the while the whole team constantly cranks out impressively new heights of creativity. I can’t tell you how much I fucking burst with pride seeing these wonderful humans crush service • Why are we closing? Well the impact of Dandelyan has been wild and can be seen (sometimes a little too literally **eyerolls for days **) in so many venues around the world and we def love going out on top (#RIPWhiteLyan), but much more importantly we think its time to change the conversation, and lead it all in a new direction. But more on what’s next for this beautiful space at another time… • And why the heck am I talking about this? Well as some know, I never actually left the Lyan fam, more so took a seat up the back drunkenly shouting opinions while I did my part in this little thing called @trashtiki. From next year I’ll be dividing my time equally between both Trash & Lyan Fams working creatively on the butt loads of new projects both have in the works while the respectively fearless leaders of @kelseyramage & @mrlyan carry the companies to mega heights! I’m eternally fucking lucky to work so closely with my two best friends and these next few years are gonna be the craziest and most rewarding to yet (just in case any of y’all were thinking we were close to done ) • #HEAPSMADSHIT #DRINKLIKEYOUGIVEAFUCK #4LYFE
Like its closest sibling, White Lyan, Dandelyan’s menus pivoted on a physical or philisophical concept as a jumping off point for its drink designs. At Dandelyan, it was botany, with cocktails inspired by rootstock grafting, big toothpaste, and the impact of pop culture on agricultural capacity. Across both bars, sustainability — not just its necessity, but what it meaningfully, sustainably looks like — was a compass, with both bars employing a closed-loop approach to waste which suited the global conversation that contextualised that approach.
Chetiyawardana’s announcement is number “1/3” according to his post; given London Cocktail Week 2018 is just around the corner, the timing of the announcement appears very deliberate. As he writes on Instagram, “the landscape, and the conversation, has shifted” — with it, White Lyan made way for Cub and Super Lyan; now Dandelyan makes way too. Global bartending will be asking the question he wishes to evade. What’s next?